In the arteries of Louisville, the lighting makes our skin look cheap. The city is thick with people swarming pointed buildings ready to angle themselves inward at us like darts. The heat is a bad decision in the making. I’m a greasy-haired teenage patchwork of my mother’s guilt and my father’s temper slumped and watching your mouth in the drive thru of the McDonald’s off West Broadway. The sky winks. You take me home early. Everything is unpredictable, just like it should be. Zits bloom across my face every once in a while just to remind me we’re both young and unkillable. The screen goes black. Nothing is salvageable anymore and it’s left me smooth-skinned and restless. The new normal is eating up my sleep schedule and showing me parts of myself that refuse to go unattended. You never call. We haven’t seen each other in months and it feels like the disaster I thought 2019 would be is arriving late. When you and everybody else graduated I thought it meant we all had one more summer to be alive but 2020 brought us back like ghosts, and now it feels like I never should’ve wished for anything in the first place. I greet my sister good morning at 6 PM and peel fruit downstairs like it’ll make the world snap back to early March. The online counselor calls me a slut. My friend’s boyfriend overdosed alone last month and my mom was too worried about the virus to let me go to his funeral. I don’t know what to do anymore so I just sit outside. Look into the insecure wild child frantic face of the sun, the same one I rent part-time. The breeze whistles and a beetle avoids eye contact. Last year I couldn’t imagine denying my pain an audience. Didn’t think suffering could be an individual experience if I was doing it right. In my head I’ll list all the mistakes I wanna make after all this until Benadryl and the telephone poles outside can decide whose night it is to watch my brain. My phone winks to let me know you’re typing. I stretch and wait for my body to tire itself out. I am so many people and all of them are unblinking. 

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